Wednesday, 27 May 2009


It occurred to me today that there is no reason why I shouldn’t go away for the weekend (Wednesday and Thursday) even if only to another area of Corsica, so on a whim, I booked a hotel in Cargèse for the same day!

The idea was to take a picnic, drive up to Cargèse, stay overnight and then spend the morning exploring before heading up to the Calanches de Piana and Porto. This is an area I don’t know well as directCorsica don’t currently have any accommodation here, and the coast road is quite windy so you need at least a day or two to explore properly. Sadly during the afternoon the clouds arrived so I was hoping the weather would be clearer further north. Propriano to Cargèse takes about 2.5 hours so I stopped off at the Plage d'Esigne just before Sagone and ate my picnic dinner on the beach.

It was very hot and sticky, and looked like it might storm so I was glad of the strong breeze on the beach to cool me down. This stretch of coast has very strong currents so there are warnings posted on all the beach accesses, but there were still some stupid people allowing a small child to swim unsupervised. Perhaps this is why in France swimming pools have to be fenced to protect children from their parents inattention.

Cargèse is only about 15 minutes further on, so I’d arrived at the hotel by just after 7pm and still had a bit of time to explore before the sun started to set. Cargèse is unusual as it has two churches; one Greek and one catholic which are sited opposite each other with fab views of the sea and the raggedy coastline. Even more unusual is that the same minister presides over both churches! I wandered down to the churches where there is a lovely view over the port below. It’s a shame that it was still a bit hazy as I am sure in full sun the colours would be amazing.

There was also a very ancient tree with an amazingly thick knobbled trunk. It was lucky it was planted and Florence wasn’t with me as I felt sure she’d have tried to take it home to decorate her terrace! I think I am also being stalked by vintage car drivers (after my visit to Tizzano) as there were three or four ancient Fords parked in the car park of A Volta.

Cargèse has a big Greek influence and much like when I’d visited Cap Corse last April, I almost felt like I was in a little Greek village rather than in Corsica. I found the people a little less forthcoming than in other areas, but perhaps they were suspicious of me with my camera so early in the season. That said, the smattering of cafes and restaurants were busy with people chatting in the early evening sun, and from my room overlooking the main street I was able to discern a number of different accents from visiting tourists.

The town/village is actually much larger than I’d first imagined, so when I went to retrieve the car to find a more suitable parking spot, I discovered a number of souvenir shops, colourful houses and restaurants lining the route heading up towards Piana.

Busiest of all seemed to be the Restaurant ‘Le Saint Jean’ which seems to have been recommended many times by the Routard guide according to their advertising. Also busy was the ‘le Continental’ hotel/snack bar almost next door. They both have lovely views over the bay so perhaps next time I will try one of them. Just another good reason to return really!

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